AMES, Iowa – Everything came together for the Iowa State swimming and diving team Saturday at Beyer Pool. Outstanding performances ranging from seniors to freshmen helped propel the Cyclones (5-3, 1-0 Big 12) past Kansas (5-5, 0-2 Big 12), 158-142.
“Our freshmen and Imelda Wistey have never lost to Kansas so they had no idea what the feeling was like,” Iowa State head coach Duane Sorenson said. “They just came in here and raced. Imelda won all four of her races, Amanda (Paulson) was a three-event winner, Sarah Deis and Britta Sortland had great meets. Our freshman class has a bunch of great racers.”
The win was Iowa State’s first in a dual meet over Kansas since Feb. 8, 2003 when the Cyclones prevailed 126-118 over the Jayhawks. That day in 2003 marked Iowa State’s last Big 12 dual win prior to today.
It was Senior Day at Beyer Pool and it was a senior who delivered in the diving well for the Cyclones. Sarah Nelson completed her sweep of the diving events by pulling away in a tight 3-meter diving competition. Nelson posted a first-place finish with 289.58, only one point off her career-high.
“It was another outstanding job by her today,” diving coach Jeff Warrick said. “She continues to perform at a high level and she can still be even better in these next few weeks.”
Jessica Henderson was right behind her in secnd with 286.73. Both Cyclones edged out third-place Christy Cash of Kansas’ score of 285.97, an important boost to the Cyclones in a tight meet.
Senior Jenn Botsch scored well above her season-high on 3-meter in prelims, going 279.08. She slipped a bit in finals, finishing fourth with 253.50, but Warrick believes she can contribute later on in the season.
“It was exciting to see Jenn do that,” Warrick noted. “This was around the level she was at early last season so it is exciting to see her at that level near the end of the year. It was disappointing for her not to get the NCAA Zone Diving score but she will get another opportunity at Big 12’s. If she stays consistent, she will get it.”
Amanda Paulson finished off an undefeated regular season in the 50 free, being first to the wall with a time of 23.71. Paulson came back in the 50 fly and contributed another important performance, finishing second in 25.76. Sorenson believes his star sprint-freestyler will be a force in the butterfly yet this campaign.
“Amanda has been working on it in practice,” Sorenson noted. “She does not get a chance to race it that much because we need her in the sprint free. She will probably swim the 100 fly at Big 12’s and she will surprise some people. Amanda does not realize how good she is in the event.”
Iowa State emerged from the diving break with a 140-124 lead with the 300 IM and 200 free relay remaining. Stephanie Payne of Kansas ran away with the 300 IM in 3:16.69 but it was the action behind her that helped decide the result of the meet. Kristy Kunkel had amassed a comeback earlier in the race to secure second (3:23.07) but it was Elizabeth Kleiner’s effort in the last 25 yards which pushed her to third in 3:24.80 and put the result in little doubt.
“Kristy’s strength is her freestyle and if she is in striking distance of someone she will run them down,” Sorenson noted. “Elizabeth came off the last turn and saw she had a shot to get third. She began to kick and touched out her opponent.”
Any doubt that Iowa State could not hang onto its 147-136 lead in the 200 free relay was quickly dashed as Paulson and Sortland blitzed out to a huge lead with splits of 23.64 and 23.85, respectively. Katie Vollhaber and Deis brought home the relay in 24.04 and 24.16, respectively, to lock up the relay in 1:35.69 and the meet for the Cyclones.
The dual meet season has wrapped up and the Cyclones will return to the pool Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Big 12 Championships, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.